The Reality of Recovery
A Documentary
Written and Produced by Rita Brooks
Angela Cerio
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I first saw “The Reality of Recovery” in a workshop at Alternatives 08, the National Consumer/Survivor/Ex-patient conference in Buffalo, NY. I am always looking for new tools to spread the word that people can and do recover from serious psychiatric problems. This DVD is one of the best I’ve seen on the subject.

I must admit to a bit of a bias here, because 18 years ago, I spent the summer in Frankfort, Kentucky working for Kentucky’s Protection and Advocacy. At that time, the level of empowerment depicted in “The Reality of Recovery” was a distant dream. To think that the seeds which were planted back then by advocates and activists who were my friends and mentors, have grown into the reality depicted in Rita Brooks’ documentary reinforces my personal sense of hope and purpose. Ms. Brooks is, herself, a person who has long struggled with mental health issues.

The backbone of the presentation is the 10 components of recovery outlined by SAMHSA, but it goes far beyond that with visions of hope from people who are on the journey of recovery, rebuilding their lives, and helping their peers.

In Kentucky, and in Ohio, where this DVD was filmed, peer services are now Medicaid billable. This is a controversial issue here in New York State. But the real value of this DVD is in its depiction of all the stakeholders in their mental health system working together toward “transformation from a medical model of treatment to a recovery-oriented system of care that is person centered and self-directed by those affected by mental disorders.”

This DVD is an education for those who don’t yet embrace the reality of recovery, and a heart-warming experience of satisfaction and inspiration for those of us who do. Recovery is real. It is happening now. The producer, Rita Brooks, both offers and is proof of that.
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